Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mary Jane's Casserole

In our family, and in many others I'm sure, we have family food traditions. If someone died, Mom took "Funeral Potatoes". If you were sick, you got buttered toast quartered into triangles (I think I still believe that toast cut that way instead of right down the center has some magic healing ability). Thanksgiving was always turkey and Easter was ham with Mom's brown sugar glaze. It's just the way thing work. And that's why, every February, I looked forward to my birthday and another family food tradition; Mary Jane's Casserole and Angel Food cake with pink cherry frosting.

Our birthdays were the one day of the year that we got to pick our favorite dinner. I don't even remember where the recipe came from or how old I was when I first asked for it, but my birthday dinner was Mary's Casserole (which we promptly renamed "Mary Jane's Casserole" in honor of my Mom). I realize now that I must have been an odd kid. When I could have had burgers or pizza, it was a chicken and broccoli casserole I wanted. My mom always made it for me when I lived at home or close by but since I'm 7 hours away, it's up to me to make it for my special day.

A few birthdays ago she gave me this awesome gift....

It's a great 3 ring binder filled with all our favorite family recipes and the fact that every recipe is written out in her hand makes it even more special...

This casserole is so easy that I don't know why I only fix it once a year. It's good if you make it the night before and put it in the fridge for the next day. And it's even better if you can get your Mom to drive 7 hours and make it for you!

What you'll need:

3 large chicken breasts (you can also use canned chicken and it works just as well)
3 packages of frozen chopped broccoli
3 10 oz cans of Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup Miracle Whip (you can use Mayo)
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Poultry Season
1 box or bag of seasoned bread cubes for stuffing
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Spread broccoli in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Cook chicken breasts (I bake mine but you could boil or fry them), cube into bite sized pieces and layer on top of the broccoli...

In a small bowl, mix the soup, Miracle Whip, lemon juice and Poultry Season until well blended. I added a bit of curry to this one, but I think I like it better with just the Poultry Season.

...spread evenly over the top of the chicken layer.

Spread stuffing mix over the top of the soup mix. I used this mix, but I like the seasoned bread cubes better...

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and spread cheese on top...

Return to oven until cheese is just melted. About 5 minutes. Dish up and enjoy. Soooooo good....

I actually took my birthday off this year and got to stay home and write and play with the dogs, so by the time Ken got home, I had this cooking away in the oven. While I was waiting for it to come out, my sweet husband drew me a bubble bath to soak in. I came out to find the last part of my traditional birthday dinner. An Angel Food cake with cherry frosting that he had frosted all on his own.

And a single candle to mark 50 years. It was the perfect birthday dinner. Nothing fancy, just good home cooked food from my child hood shared with the love of my life. Yep, pretty much perfect.


  1. Awe, great memories. The angle food cake with Cherry frosting is still my favorite and if my memory serves me correct is was what I always asked for, I think your memory is fading and you just think it was yours first. :) You are a gifted writer, thank you for capturing all of these memories, I enjoy your blog very much. As I have been reading these the past few years I have noticed one thing missing however, and that is the fact that your little brother is rarely mentioned, that and the role he played in helping shape you into the great lady you are. Maybe it has just been oversight or perhaps a reluctance to expose him and all of his great attributes to all of your readers in fear they would be disappointed they did not get the joy of growing up with him. Then again it could be you know how humble he is and the spot light has never been anything he has sought after, what ever your motives are, I respect that about you. the compassion you have for others. Keep writing, I look forward to what great things you have to write about, even if your little brother, or I should say your much younger brother, is just mentioned in passing.

    1. Oh, sweet, sweet baby memory is just fine. And what I don't remember, our Mother has been good enough to fill in. A blogpost dedicated to the adventures of brother John is in the works. Be careful what you ask for. Lol. Love you very much! ~Your big Sister

  2. Looks Delish, I can't wait to try it!

  3. Oh what a wonderfully satisfying casserole. I am hoping you'll share this at HammockTracks for the weekend link up. The focus this week is casseroles. -Savannah

    1. Thank you for the invite Savannah! Can't wait to try some of the other casseroles I found on your site! ~Wren

  4. Just saw your link over at Hammock Tracks Casserole themed link party and thought I'd come over and check out your delicious recipe!

    Would love to have you link up a few recipes at my weekend link party going on right now too @The Weekend re-Treat!

    Hope to see you there!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for the invite Shauna! Found several things I can't wait to try on your link party. ~Wren

  5. Looks and sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing at Saturday Dishes! This week we'll be having a St Patrick's day party so bring anything green! Hope you'll come! Paula

  6. This post made me smile, thank you for sharing.

    - Jill


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